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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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James still appreciates Finals excitement

LeBron James should be used to the NBA Finals by now. After five trips to the championship series in eight years, it would make sense if he had a been-there, done-that attitude when stepping onto the sport’s biggest stage. He doesn’t. On Wednesday, James took a seat inside a makeshift interview area, sneaked a quick glance at the NBA Finals signage that was off to his left side, and beamed like a kid in a candy store. Just a couple of years removed from being ripped for not delivering in the moments that decide championships, James seems more comfortable in these surroundings than ever. “I’m blessed, man,” James said. “That’s all I can say.” James and the Miami Heat open these finals tonight ( 6, ABC) against the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA’s first championship-series rematch since 1998. – AP

An over the top finals

MIAMI – Over the last 10 seasons, only one NBA player has been part of more wins than LeBron James. His name is Tim Duncan.

James, Duncan square off again

Over the last 10 seasons, only one NBA player has been part of more wins than LeBron James. His name is Tim Duncan.

Twice as nice for the Heat

MIAMI — LeBron James had 37 points and 12 rebounds and the Miami Heat repeated as champions with a 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Battier scored 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range for Miami. James made 5 of 10 3s, all the while hounding Spurs star Tony Parker on defense to make the Heat the first back-to-back champs since the Lakers in 2009-10.

International approach pays off

SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs have long been the NBA’s gold standard when it comes to drafting and development, preferring to roll up their sleeves and scour the globe to find the right players to slot into well-defined roles. They have more international players on their roster than any other team in the NBA, and even their American players don’t come straight from America to the league.

Heat struggled at quarters’ end

SAN ANTONIO – Until Tuesday night, the Miami Heat will be lamenting 8 bad minutes. Eight very bad minutes, actually.

Miami seeks modest win streak

SAN ANTONIO – It was the compelling story of the NBA regular season, the Miami Heat making their run at the league-record mark of 33 consecutive victories. They fell six games short.

Big 3 help Heat even NBA Finals with Spurs

SAN ANTONIO – Miami Heat owner Micky Arison had a message as he walked to the winning locker room. “The death of the Big Three was overrated,” he said.

Big Three deliver as Heat even series

Riding big performances from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat tied the NBA Finals with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4. James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20 points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this postseason. Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, he and Wade supplying the baskets that finally put the Spurs away for good midway through the fourth quarter.

James, Wade ready to lift Heat

SAN ANTONIO – Game 4 of the NBA Finals will tell more about the Miami Heat than a 66-win regular season ever could. Any questions about LeBron James and the Heat were supposed to have been answered by now. He was too good to be taken out of games, his teammates too talented to go through long stretches where they weren’t contributing.

Miami rules second half to even series

MIAMI – Mario Chalmers marched toward midcourt with a message. “I felt like we had them on the ropes at the time. I told him, ‘Let’s go for the kill,’ ” Chalmers said. “He said, ‘I’m with you.’ ”

Heat turn it up in Game 2

Mario Chalmers led the charge, LeBron James broke out to finish it with a flurry and the Miami Heat used a 33-5 run to rout the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 on Sunday night and even the NBA Finals at one game apiece.

Spurs rally to stun Heat in Game 1 of NBA Finals

MIAMI – The San Antonio Spurs returned to the NBA Finals just the way they left – with a victory over LeBron James. Tim Duncan overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker banked in a desperation jumper on a broken play with 5.2 seconds left and the Spurs withstood James’ triple-double to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 on Thursday in a thrilling Game 1.

Spurs bank on Parker for Game 1 win

Tim Duncan overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker banked in a desperation jumper on a broken play with 5.2 seconds left and the Spurs withstood James’ triple-double to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 on Thursday night in a thrilling Game 1. Parker ended up with 21 points after referees reviewed his shot to make sure it just beat the shot clock, giving San Antonio a four-point edge in a game that was close the whole way.

James leads Heat to Game 3 victory

LeBron James scored 29 points and had 14 rebounds, and the Miami Heat rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 91-85 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Miami. James hit a free throw with 16.2 seconds left to make it a two-possession game, the Thunder immediately turned it over and Miami escaped to grab a 2-1 lead in the best -of-seven title series.

NBA Finals attract huge ratings

The NBA Finals’ Game 2 drew the highest preliminary television rating since 2004. The Miami Heat’s 100-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night on ABC earned an 11.8 overnight rating. The network said Friday that was up 12 percent from last year’s series between the Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Game 2 of the 2004 finals between the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers drew a 12.3 overnight rating. Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country’s largest markets. Game 3 is at 5 p.m. Sunday in Miami, also on ABC. – Associated Press

James gets Miami even with Oklahoma City in NBA Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY – This was Eastern Conference toughness. This was Pat Riley hammer-and-anvil basketball. This was LeBron James finally asserting his brutish and ridiculously unstoppable toughness. Stealing the momentum of the NBA Finals with three consecutive games coming up in Miami, the Heat defeated the Thunder 100-96 on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena to tie the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

It’s an eye-opening experience in OKC

The Miami Heat have been here before. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA finals will be an eye-opening experience. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook (pictured) said Sunday he’s “just going with the flow,” and he doesn’t think he’ll really grasp it all until Game 1 arrives Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. He’s not the only one. The finals will disrupt the Thunder’s routine, forcing them to abandon their practice facility and work out at the arena downtown. They’ll also be surrounded by hundreds of additional media members. Despite the heightened emotions and potential distractions, coach Scott Brooks thinks the Thunder will handle things well and be ready to play come Tuesday night. – Associated Press

Mavericks stop Heat to move within one win of title

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki thrust both arms in the air, a sea of blue screaming around him and the Dallas Mavericks finally ahead in the close NBA finals. Now it really is “now or never” for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Wade content with lead

DALLAS – A chance for another championship ahead of him, Dwyane Wade refused to look back. No, he said, the answer as quick and forceful as his first step to the basket. He doesn’t consider that the Miami Heat should have a 3-0 lead in the NBA finals.